ONCE AGAIN a VA hospital is under fire after discovery that it exposed almost two thousand veterans to life-threatening diseases like hepatitis and HIV.
Now soldiers who served and risked their lives still have to worry about their personal safety -- not from al-Qaeda or Taliban-- but the Veterans Administration.
This time the hospital is in Missouri. The John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they just might contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Why? Because they went to the medical center for dental work.
Damn! What does it take to be safe? Surprise -- sterilization.
Not 'human' sterilization, but sterilization of dental instruments. Although, preventing stupid humans from procreating ... What are the chances that their progeny will also risk the lives of so many others?
Of course, I do NOT really want to sterilize the 'retarded' as we did in our past. I'm just so damn angry! Because dental technicians broke protocol and failed to clean the dental instruments properly a whole lot of veterans are in jeopardy. The way the military treats its own, I'm amazed that anyone signs up to serve anymore.
WE'RE ALL ANGRY, BUT...
"I can only imagine the horror and anger our veterans must be feeling after receiving this letter," said Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis), as reported by CNN. "They have every right to be angry. So am I."
DUH ... ONE, TWO, THREE
Here is one of the instrument sterilization machines used in dental offices (pictured left). See its three buttons on right? How hard can it be to use this machine? Looks a lot easier than my microwave. The VA could have training seminars: first week is training on pushing Button A; second week on Button B. The test then would be to ask the technicians: What will be learning in the third week of training? We'll just call this the "duh" factor.
Do you suppose anyone, I mean ANYONE, will be fired over this?
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This isn't the first time that a VA hospital has been caught not following proper procedures. Last year, three vets who were patients at VA hospitals in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, all tested positive for HIV after exposure to contaminated equipment, with additional thousands requiring testing, reports Fierce Healthcare, a trade publication for healthcare executives.
Oh yeah, this incident is not the first time that this same VA hospital in St. Louis has been cited for poor infection control. In 2008, a VA review found the hospital had storage areas containng both clean linens and dirty patient care equipment. Also medications were stored at temperatures warmer than recommended. And, of course, employees failed to document actions when frig temps were out of range.
I find all of this disgusting. Our VA hospitals should be the best of the best and set the standards which all hospitals try to reach.
DO SOMETHING! MAKE SOME DEMANDS!
Come on America! Most of us know at least one vet who is dependent on the VA hospitals for medical care -- a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, parent, cousin, friend, neighbor, reservist. They've helped you by serving in the military. Now you can help them by demanding that things start changing at the VA hospitals.
So, do something. Write a letter or two. Make demands.
Unless, of course, you'd prefer going over to Iraq or Afghanistan yourself for two, three, even four tours. Then you can finally return home -- absent a limb or two and almost for certain with post-traumatic stress disorder, which often even the military and folks at the VA refuse to believe is real.
I'll bet you'd really rather stay home and write some letters instead.
by Sharon McEachern
FOR MORE POSTS ON SOLDIER AND VETERANS:
CLICK AND READ "US ARMY SOLDIER SUICIDES RISE TO 3 DECADE HIGH."
CLICK AND READ "US ARMY SUICIDE PREVENTION WARNING SIGNS, RISK FACTORS"